Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

brain drain

That title is deceiving--brain drain--but it sounded better than absolute, unmitigated, complete, whole body drain. (yup, been playing with my thesaurus again)

One frustrating consequence of this illness is that difficult situations, like the one I described on 3/3/08, often have lasting effects. Despite my mood going into these interactions, idiots talking down to me, making degrading assumptions about me, and taking advantage of their positions of power often knock me down for days. That's clearly happened this time. Despite being prepared for aloofness from Mr. Jeff, Rehab Services Pro, based purely on his aloof, almost annoyed tone on my voicemail, I still couldn't handle his negativity. Now I'm a pretty tough, educated, stand-up-for-myself person, yet this jerk had me reduced to frustrated, angry tears midway through our appointment. (Ladies, don't you hate it when that happens?!! God, I hate that! As the tears were surprisingly rising from within, my brain was screaming, NO!!) I cried afterward, too, hard. At first I couldn't understand why I was unable to stop crying. But it soon made sense.
It makes even more sense today, 3 days later. I was humiliated. Prior to my appointment with Mr. Jeff, I had put hours of thought, time and research into how to create a productive work-life and get off disability. This guy's job is to assist people in this quest. Yet, he was condescending and purposefully unhelpful from the get-go. He was also literally stunned when I announced my intent to get off disability as part of my plan. Stunned. "Oh, you want to get off disability," he asked? At that point it was my turn to be stunned. I thought that was the point! This was moments before the tsunami of tears. "Yes," I said emphatically. "This is not FUN for me!" ('This' meaning living on disability) Despite my protestations, Mr. Jeff remained dubious and continued bricking the walls in my path.
Sadly, it was only after I began crying that Mr. Jeff seemed to realize that I wasn't just another statistic. He softened and actually made an appointment for me to follow-up with another agency. But he thought I was crying because, as he said to me, "I'm sorry if you don't like what I have to say." If I could have, I would have screamed through the tears. I didn't care if he said no to my plan. I cared that from his voicemail up to that moment he had clearly conveyed no, as in, "I have no time for this. I have no interest in this. I have no belief in you, your illness, your story, or your needs. And I have no desire to challenge my preconceived notions by listening to you." That's why I was crying, Mr. Jeff. I don't mind being told no. I mind being treated as if I am lazy, inferior, or at fault because of my diagnosis. Perhaps, Mr. Jeff, you would feel more satisfied working with the innocent victims of real illnesses instead of making people like me the victims of your unprofessionalism.

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